Installing Water Tanks – The Ultimate Guide


Water tanks come in all shapes and sizes to suit a variety of purposes. They’re a necessity for many rural Australian properties, in order to secure an adequate and reliable source of water, but they’re also a popular choice for commercial businesses, environmentally conscious inner-city households and hobbyists interested in activities like beer brewing. 

Many households and businesses use rainwater storage to supplement their existing water supply – this can be a great way to save on water costs and most simple gravity feed rainwater storage tanks are easy to DIY install, but this isn’t always the case. Some water tank systems are a little more complicated and may be better left to the experts, especially if there’s a pressurised valve system involved. 

That’s why we’d recommend taking your time to do some research and get some professional advice before purchasing and installing a water tank. Understanding the installation process can save you a lot of time and money!


Installing a water tank

The installation process for your water tank will be influenced by how you plan to use it. There are a few things you’ll need to consider before you purchase and install a rainwater tank, firstly you’ll want to figure out how large your tank should be. For tips on selecting the right tank size for your needs, read our guide

Next you’ll want to consider whether or not you’re going to set your tank on the ground or elevate it with a tank stand. Finally, you’ll need to gather the right fittings for your tank prior to installation. 

You may need pumps (most rainwater tanks need a pump to generate the right amount of pressure). You will also need flush diverters to keep dirty runoff water and pollutants from your roof out of your tank, and you may need a backflow prevention valve to prevent tank water from entering the mains system. Leaf guards, mosquito mesh and trickle-top up systems are also common add-ons for rainwater harvesting systems. 

Below, we’ll explore the most basic steps involved in installing a water tank. 


  1. Build the base or foundation

A flat level pad or foundation is step number one when installing any type of water tank. When selecting the site for your tank, you’ll need to make sure it complies with local council guidelines, usually a tank can be no closer than 450mm to a boundary. 

Many people opt for a concrete foundation, but it’s also possible to install a water tank on top of compacted material. In order to ensure the tank is properly stabilised, its foundation usually needs to be thick, relatively smooth and wider than the tank itself. If you’re using compacting material, you’ll want to ensure that it’s not too jagged. 

You may also need to consider investing in a retaining wall to prevent it from cracking or eroding over time. 


  1. Install overflow drainage

If you’re installing a rainwater tank, you’ll need overflow drainage. Some tanks will come equipped with an overflow spout already installed, whilst others may need a technician to install one. 

Fortunately, it’s relatively simple and easy to do. To install overflow drainage, your installer will need to drill a hole in the tank, attach a gasket (and a filter if necessary) and then secure the fixture with some screws. Having overflow drainage on your water tank ensures that excess water can escape without eroding the foundation below the tank. 


  1. Install your fill pipes

You’ll need to install a drainage system to direct rainwater into your tank. In most cases, this will mean cutting into your gutter system to direct rainwater with a downspout and some fill piping. 

A leaf guard is usually used to keep most of the large debris out of the tank whilst a ball float mechanism in the first flush chamber prevents dirty rain water from flowing on into the tank. This is known as a ‘dry’ delivery system. 

‘Wet’ delivery systems are more complex and typically used when the water tank is located further from the collection source. These water tank systems rely on underground pipes which tunnel water to the tank with gravity. 


When should I install my water tank?


Your water tank should ideally be installed before the start of your wet season to maximise your opportunity for harvesting rainfall. 

At Heritage Water Tanks we pride ourselves on our efficient and friendly service. Our premium quality Australian made steel water tanks range from 26,000L to 375,000L and come in a variety of colours and styles. 

Contact us today on 1800 115 552 or through the form on our website to request a quote for the supply and installation of your new water tank.